This is a great hike if you live east on the island or Kowloon, as it is one stop across the harbour from Quarry Bay on the purple line. It’s also ideal if you’re looking for a quick hike; you want to get up a mountain, get some exercise in, see some great views of both the island and Kowloon skyline, and then get out. I mean, your schedule is booked solid from now until your last days in this city that never sleeps, so you need to squeeze in as much as possible every single waking moment of your time here. Am I right, or what?
I have been wanting to do this hike for quite some time, but was waiting for a clear day to appreciate the views a bit more. Since clear days come few and far between in Hong Kong, we decided to just try our luck one morning when we didn’t have much planned for the day. At the top of Lion Rock, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, panoramic views of Kowloon and the Hong Kong Island harbourfront (if the smog isn’t in full force that day).
Hiking in Hong Kong is much more enjoyable when the humidity isn’t slowly suffocating you with each step you take. Thanks to the cooler weather, hiking has become bearable. Looking for something to do on the weekend? Why not get up early, (fingers crossed the sun is out and the smog is not as apparent), hike up a mountain, and appreciate the breathtaking views of the city.
I went about hiking from Quarry Bay to Stanley on two separate occasions. The first time I began my hike up Mount Parker, I was confident I knew how to get to Parkview (you need to exit the path and walk across a road to begin the next stage of the hike towards Stanley). I made my way up Mount Parker at a steady pace and ended up entering a pathway on the side of Mount Parker Road, which I thought would lead me to the top of Mount Parker quicker. Though this wasn’t exactly the case, I did come across some hidden gems.
When it comes to hiking, I like getting lost in the lush mountains (for a reasonable, I-know-eventually-I’m-going-to-find-my-way-home amount of time), walking up and down dirt trails, and having that general “I’m not actually in Hong Kong right now.. Am I?” feeling. Unfortunately, this hike did not live up to these expectations.
I had never been to Cyberport before (waaaaaay too far west on the island and its name was never too enticing; sounds very bionic and bizarre), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My friend who arranged the hike assured me that it would be relatively easy, as we had all been out the night prior and that there was a waterfall. The waterfall alone sold me and off we went to the Wan Chai bus terminal to hop on a Citybus to Cyberport. We made a relatively educated guess as to where to get off the bus and from there set out to find the start of our “hike”.
Unfortunately, this was not the hike I had in mind – Cyberport Waterfront Park is very much man-made with concrete paths everywhere. While this was disappointing, we did happen to come across a gated off section that led down to a beach area. Here we also came upon the waterfall, though it was not one in which you could really swim in.
Lamma Island is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. It’s a great mash-up of traditional Chinese life and Western modernity. This is a popular day trip destination for tourists and other expats, as it was quite busy with other hikers. To get there, you need to take the MTR to Central Ferry Pier and hop on a ferry for about 30 minutes.
We decided to do the “family trail” hike, which takes you across the island between the two largest villages. This trail provided a good opportunity to see the east side of the island without breaking into a sweat. We got off at Yung Shue Wan to begin the trail and we ended at Sok Kwu Wan.
The Dragon’s Back is an acclaimed Hong Kong hiking trail. In 2004, this trail was selected by TIME Asia as the best urban hiking trail. Dragon’s Back is part of the Hong Kong Trail, which is roughly 50km of hiking trail across HK Island (though Dragon’s Back itself is only about 5km). This hike has some spectacular views of Shek O Beach, Big Wave Bay, and Stanley Beach/Market.
The hike is not the easiest to get to, but it is well worth the trip. You have to take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan Station. From there, you exit (Exit A3) and catch bus 9 from the bubs terminus to To Tei Wan on Shek O Road. This was quite tricky, as this road it winding through hills and we were really unsure as to where to get off. Thankfully, the bus driver told us he would let us know when our stop came. The bus also has the drop-offs on a flashing screen ahead, but given how busy the bus usually it is, it can be easy to miss your stop.
What better way to spend a Tuesday off work thanks to the Chung Yeung Festival than to hike through Sai Kung East in search of the “deserted beaches” everyone talks about!?
Now, not only was the hike to get to these deserted beaches long, the journey to actually get to the beginning of the MacLehose Trail was a nightmare. Let’s start from the beginning..
We left quite a bit later than we should have, given that it was a holiday; clearly not off to the best start. By the time we packed our bags and left our door, it was around 10:30am. We had to take the MTR to Hang Hau Station, which took about 20 minutes. Once we made it to Hang Hau Station, we had to hop on a Public Light Bus (a small van-esque form of public transportation where the drivers most definitely do not follow the speed limit) to the main bus station in Sai Kung. This was about a 30 or so minute journey.
We clearly did not plan out our route to get to the beginning of the trail very well; we had no idea where we were going once we got off the bus. All we knew was that we needed to hop onto another Public Light Bus to take us to the MacLehose Trail. After getting directions on three separate occasions and wandering around for the better part of half an hour, we were mortified when at last we found the bus stop.. There were probably seventy people waiting in line for the bus. Grrrreat. Thankfully the bus line went relatively fast – we only waited for about half an hour.